… and the echo follows
… and the echo follows
an essay with photographs
Perfect Bound Softcover
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Asking the question, “What is the connection between food and democracy?” raises a lot of other questions. Some of the answers invalidate many of the myths of our assumed knowledge. Other answers describe the history and experience of a different understanding.

What is the Green Revolution? What is food sovereignty? What is the verticalization of agriculture? What is agroecology? Who were Adam Smith and Karl Marx? Is “free trade” free? How much does a military cost? Where did this economic mess come from? Is a democracy a vote for who? Is land identity? What has art got to do with it? Do I care?

Surprising to some, well-understood by others, many of the answers are available for both discussion and practice. Millions of women and men, farmers, indigenous people, and peasants are creating autonomous movements, social and economic relations, and processes of decision, which make power unnecessary and undermine alienation. They are movements, people of dignity.

This is an investigation to learn.

204 pages. Approx. 60% text / 40% photographs. 203 original photographs.

Introduction: Words and Pictures

Is there a connection between food and democracy? Well, originally the question was – Is there a connection between people who produce food and people who organize for democracy? In conducting interviews for In Motion Magazine, I had noticed that often there was. But why? This thought led to questions about food systems, about concepts horizontal and vertical – to questions about networks and empires.

This essay is composed of photographs, quotations, and thoughts which have shuffled themselves in my mind for the last several years, as I followed one question to another. During that time, I have traveled to interview, photograph, and learn from grassroots organizations and community members, then returned home to transcribe (often with help on translation,) edit, and communicate back with people for clarifications and approval.

In this process, as I went from one person to another in an almost stream of consciousness way, interviews and photos became inseparable. Particular photographs became symbols of things I was discovering – sometimes immediately, often in retrospect.

On some occasions, I would take a photo because someone had brought me to a place and set me up for a picture and a story, and then not realize the significance of it until later. Similarly, with interviews, much of the meaning emerged later as I worked to publish them. As much as an interview is best when about preparation and then being quiet and listening to where the conversation is going, I have never ceased to be amazed at how it is much later that I realize the depth of what I was told. That’s why this essay flows up to and through quotations and photographs – the story can’t be told without them.

Fine, you say, but what were the people doing? What were they saying? Well, the scope of people’s living history is immense and though in the interviews people were kind enough to share brief glimpses as well as collective and personal analysis, I can’t adequately tell you that in an essay. But I can trace what did emerge for me as I went from one interview to another; how what I was being told was an understanding of food and democracy which went way beyond what I had ever understood.

Nic Paget-Clarke is the publisher and a co-editor of In Motion Magazine (www.inmotionmagazine.com). In Motion Magazine is a multicultural, publication about democracy and has been online for 15 years. In addition to his work at In Motion Magazine, Paget-Clarke has had various interviews and articles published in ten other books, magazines, and websites. His photography has been published in over 30 magazines and books in several countries.


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